24 February 2009

Collecting all online traces at personal Web page

In one of my previous posts I have presented Sweetcron as automatic lifestreaming solution for bloggers http://blogging4good.blogspot.com/2009/02/automated-open-source-life-stream.html).

If you did not like the presented solution at the time, Frindo might cover your needs. Take a look!

FriendFeed is an excellent web service that collects your online activity to share with others in a social setting. It automatically picks up the stuff you share on over 40 web sites, like YouTube and Flickr.

But you may want to embed this information at your virtual home and have people that visit your website to get all of your Diggs, Tweets, YouTubes, Flickrs, etc. So Frindo is just a simple script that uses the FriendFeed API to put your life stream on your website in a highly customizable way.

An example of Frindo in action can be seen on the home page at http://screwtheman.com


  • Web server running PHP4
  • Friend Feed account
  • Minor knowledge of CSS, HTML, and web servers
1. Download the zip file and unzip it. The result should be a folder named ’frindo’.
2. Upload this folder intact on to your web server to a place that it can be seen by a web browser.
3. Temporarily make this folder writable.
4. Further information on embedding frindo into your site is on the configuration page when you run it. Frindo will detect that that it has not been configured and will show the configuration and usage interface.
5. Fill out the form and hit submit.
6. If everything is fine change the permissions on the frindo folder and frindosettings.php back to read only. If you ever want to reconfigure it, just remove or rename the frindosettings.php in your folder and follow the configuration process again.
Note: For additional security, you may want to put those files in a differently named folder than ’frindo’. As long as they’re together, it doesn’t matter what the folder name is.
Developers: http://code.google.com/p/frindo/

21 February 2009

A new way to express yourself with Sketchcast

If you are an active blogger, you know that you operate in highly competitive environment. In order to attract, surprise, and keep your readers through your content, interface, and useful features. One of them is ability to add a quick drawing or sketch, related to a topic of discussion. Visualization might save you a lot of explanation and give your readers better and faster understanding of all details. Yes, you can prepare and add your images offline, but that will take a lot of time and efforts. If the illustration is simple, or if you have strong artistic abilities, cool Web2 application Sketchcast will be your valuable assistant.

Here is a brief tutorial of how to use this free service in three simple steps

Register for a new account at Sketchcast.

Filling out all the required info, you can start to draw (optionally, with your voice speaking).

After drawing you can embed the sketch player in your blog.


Simple, isn’t it?

Any sketch can then be embedded on your blog/ homepage for people to play-back, and you can also point people to your sketchcast channel on the developers website (or let them subscribe to your sketchcast RSS feed).

15 February 2009

How to Add Element under Header in Blogger Blog

Usually, when you are new to the World of Blogging, you start from scratch. You use on of the default templates offered by Blogger on their site. Little-by-little, you realize that there are so many blogs in blogospere that look like yours, and you want to distinguish you blog from others. You can choose one of the free or paid templates available online to change the blog interface. Later on, you can experiment even more, tweaking the GUI to your particular needs. The following simple tweak will show you how to add an extra element under your blog Header in 9 steps. The credit goes to BlogSpotTutorial:

1. Login to Blogger with your ID.
2. Click Layout.
3. Click tab Edit HTML.
4. Click sentence Download Full Template, it is very important for you to backup this!
5. Copy the code below, then paste it before code ]]></b:skin>

#under_header{ margin:10px 0; padding:1%; width:98%; }
6. Find out code which look exactly like this :
<div id=’header-wrapper’> <b:section class=’header’ id=’header’ maxwidget="1" showaddelement="no"> <b:widget id=’Header1’ locked=’true’ title=’test (Header)’ type=’Header’/> </b:section> </div>

7. Copy the code below, and paste it exactly after that code :
<div id="under_header"> <b:section class=’header’ id=’underheader’ preferred=’yes’/> </div>

8. Click SAVE TEMPLATE buttons, and wait until your template saved.
9. Now you already have an element which placed exactly below your header. Feel free to add any elements do you wanted to. Want some Google Advertise, or maybe some photos, it’s all up to you!

11 February 2009

Automated Open-Source Life-stream Blogging Software

You have a rich Web 2 life and complicated online presence. Would not it be great if all your Internet activities (you choose) are reflected on your blog automatically? Uploaded a photo to Flickr? Bookmarked a new site? In a few minutes, it will show up on your blog!

There have been a lot of "life-stream" services popping up lately that aim to collect all of your Web 2.0 newly created posts, uploaded materials, or certain performed actions, and assemble all this in one place that is central to your online life. It sounds as a great idea, but the downside is that most of the offered solutions are closed source and externally hosted applications, so you are essentially directing all your data into yet another system that you have no control over.

Sweetcron application, created by Tokyo-based web developer Yongfook, represents a completely open-source solution, self-hosted take on the life stream idea. Like most of the similar services, it is essentially a blog that also pulls your real-time participation data from sites like Twitter, Flickr, Digg, and Youtube. Unlike most of other competitive service models, however, you can download the software, skin it, and modify it to suit your needs. You will definitely need a server to run it on, of course; therefore this solution is not for everyone.

Developers website: http://sweetcron.com/

Direct Downloading links: http://code.google.com/p/sweetcron/downloads/list

Additional Information, Detailed Features and Installation Procedures:


06 February 2009

Read Books Online and Share your Library with Others

Hey, did you know about the Google Books site? I did not before I read the related presentation at Beautiful Beta blog. Somehow, that slipped my attention. No, I do not read books on my computer; I prefer old fashion paper copies with real pages. But, the site will be my additional source of reference books for my MBA college study. You have also a long list of magazines. Remember, that reading online will help to extend green solutions to the magazines publishing. How often the magazine goes to the paper trash basket with pages never flipped?

But, that is more. In Google Books you can create your own Library; you can easily share with your friends. To giving you an example, I created a small test library with several books on the topic of Google AdSense. Take a look here to see it. Creating your own Google Books Library is simple and fast. First of all, you need to have a Google account. As a Blogger user, you probably have one. After signing in on your Google account, select "more" from the menu bar on the Google main page. This opens a small pop-up menu, where you can select "Books". Or you can go directly to the address: http://books.google.com/.

This brings you to the Books-page, where you start creating your Library by "Importing Books". You can easily add books to your Library by entering a list of ISBN-numbers. Google will look up all book data. After importing several books, return to the main page and click on "My Library" in the menu bar to see your Library Listing. Now you can add comments, reviews, and a ranking (0-5 stars) to your books.

But you might be interested to share your books collection with readers of your own blog. After you set up your Library, you can create the special Widget to display the Google Books Library nicely. The easiest way to create the widget is through Yahoo! Pipes.

It will take just a minute to set it up.

1. Get your Google Books Library URL
Go to your Google Books Library page. Select the contents from your browser’s address bar by right-clicking on it and selecting "copy" from the popup menu.

2. Create the Widget with Yahoo Pipes
Go to my Google Books Library Pipe by clinking on the link. In the entry-field, enter the URL by right-clicking and pasting the URL you just copied. Click the "Run Pipe" button. Your Library data are retrieved, and displayed as a list of titles and descriptions.

If the output is as you expected, go on to the next step.

3. Add the Widget to your Blog
Now click on "Get as a Badge". Badge is the Yahoo-word for Widgets. This will bring up the Badge Configuration Window. In this window, click on "Customize the size, type and settings of your Badge". In the entry-field again paste your Google Books URL and click "Next". Now select "Blogger" as the destination for your Badge. This brings you to the familiar Blogger-screen, where you can select the Blog, and enter the heading for the new Page Element. Click on "Add Widget", and afterwards view your Blog.

Yahoo Pipes + Google Books

02 February 2009

Improve Headlines Effectiveness Using Free Optimizer Tool

You have interesting genuine content, but if your title is not attractive enough, bypassing readers might not stop to read it. You have to capture, you have to catch, and you have to surprise. There is free online assistant that might help you to generate titles, attractive enough both for readers and search engines.

What is it?
Headline Analyzer evaluates the headline which you have written on your site or decided to write and tells you how efficient it is. You can use the tool and write many headlines and choose the best one. The tool will give you a result in percentage. What the system says is that normally gifted freelance writers have the ability to create headlines of 50%-70%.

How Does It Work?
They have done pretty good research and finally put up a system. The system will check for the emotional, emphatic, and eye-catchy words and then give you a result based on it. You can check on how it works here.

How to Improve?
This is easy to answer. All you have to do is, try typing different headlines and see which one gives the best score and use it. While you may not get above 80% at your first try, you can get above 50% with little hard.

Few Defects
Most of the things you use in life have its own advantages and disadvantages. Like that, this tool has few defects too. Try typing the following things and see the result:

I Love Google - 0%
Probably - 400%

Though the second one is not a headline, it is not something which can constitute a headline. Likewise, I Love Google can be a headline and in fact and eye-catchy headline but it gives 0%.


I decided to evaluate the tool by working on the headline to the post you are reading now.

The first title I tried was a simple and informational one: "Using Headlines Optimizer Service". The service did not like the title much and gave pretty low score of 25%. Adding the magic word Free without changing anything else "Using Free Headlines Optimizer Service" improved the rating, raising it to 40%, which is considered solid average score. Changing a word Service to word Tool as "Using Free Headlines Optimizer Tool" significantly improved the score, brining it to professional level of 60%. The result is pretty good already, but it definitely can be improved. The question is of how much time you can allow yourself working on every post title.

Making the post concept stronger with title "Improve Headlines Effectiveness Using Free Optimizer Tool" brings the score 71.43%. At this moment I will stop and let you play with this free simple and useful service.

Where to Start
Before trying the optimizer, you need to understand basics on how to make the post title attractive. Here, you can review the model developed by RealEstateTomato. There are titles offered as good and bad examples. I will use each title to check the score, so we can verify that author’s improvement advices aligned with automatic tool recommendations.

1. Emotion - Make your audience feel something they can relate to. Emotion can be brought out in several ways:

- Extreme words: best, most, never, crucial, perfect
- Emotional words: scary, sad, mean, fun
- Playful words: secret, hidden, unknown, forgotten, exciting…
- Curiosities: celebrities, well known people, news items, buzz words…
- Use something attention grabbing.
Bad Title: Interest Rates Are Unpredictable (25%).
Good Title: The 4 Crucial Reasons You Don’t Want To Wait On Interest Rates (50%).

2. Call To Action - What am I going to take away from this article? Don’t hide it in the body.

- Improve on something.
- Teach something.
- Overcome something.
- Uncover something.
- Just offer something.
Bad Title: The Real Estate Loan Broken Down (16.67%).
Good Title: 5 Simple Solutions to Getting Organized For a Real Estate Loan (27.27%).

3. Description - Lay it all out there.

- Tell the whole story in a sentence.
- Avoid confusion with description.
- Avoid assumptions; your audience shouldn’t have to guess what your writing about.
Bad Title: The Real Estate Transaction Is Not That Difficult (25%).
Good Title: Exactly Why The Real Estate Transaction Process Is Easier Than Getting A Tattoo (38.46%).

4. Keywords - Make sure you are being found for terms that match your focus.

- Work your focus into your titles
- The Title is the most weighted element in your articles search engine success
- Search engines aren’t going to give you credit for keywords, unless you include them.
Bad Title: Friends Don’t Let Friends Pay 6% (0%).
Good Title: Friends Don’t Let Friends Pay 6% In Real Estate Commissions (10%).

Make your headlines look like headlines that are important, but not obnoxious. Avoid using all CAPS and avoid writing in lower case. That can be considered as lack of respect to your readers.

As you see, a Good Title score is always higher than a Bad Title, even though the “good and bad” consideration differs every time.

Webpage: http://www.aminstitute.com/headline/index.htm
More recommendations on the Blog Title generation:


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